January 13, 2007

Mark 4.35--

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, "Let us go across to the other side." And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great storm of wind arose; and the waves beat into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him and said to him, "Teacher, do you not care if we perish?"

And he awoke and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, "Peace, be still!" And the wind ceased; and there was a great calm. He said to them, "Why are you afraid? Have you no faith?"

And they were filled with awe, and said to one another, "Who then is this, that even wind and sea obey him?"

7 Comments:

At 10:25 AM, Blogger forrest said...

It takes a storm before we think to wake Christ in us.

 
At 1:17 PM, Blogger david said...

Often this is true.

I'm also fascinated with the similarities to Jonah here. Jonah is also asleep when the sailors panic. Only with Jonah, the sailors are virtuous gentiles and Jonah is an erring prophet. Jesus here is virtuous and the disciples show lack of faith. The symetry then is chiastic (crossed).

For Jonah the winds still when he is sacrificed to the by obedient sailors. With Jesus the sacrifice followed by three days in the belly of the leviathan are delayed until the end of his minsitry.

When earlier I indicated that Jesus' miracles were not so much a sign of his omnipotence as his borrowing against he future inheritance -- it was this story I had in mind.

 
At 2:54 PM, Blogger forrest said...

I think the quote about "the sign of Jonah" was amplified later by a disciple who'd entirely misunderstood Jesus's meaning. Being swallowed by a whale was not a sign of Jonah's authenticity, but of his human reluctance to accept his mission.

The real "sign" of Jonah was that Ninevah repented in sackcloth & ashes--and was spared.

Notice also, that Jonah was not sent to Israel, as Jesus was, but to the cruelest of the contemporary pagan nations. Jesus was sent to Israel, as annointed king, and gathered his followers there--but Jerusalem was ultimately destroyed, while his long-term influence has been on the goyim. I don't suppose "the sign" will be complete until we repent, and so the Jews are right to insist he hasn't done the job until then...

Was it really the man Jesus, "borrowing against" some future status, who told the waves to be still? Wasn't it the spirit of Christ, present in all, who could and did speak through Jesus because he had put his full faith in it--and not in himself? "I can of my own self do nothing" (and that from a gospel that idealizes Jesus to the utmost.)

 
At 5:22 PM, Blogger david said...

Doesn't much matter to me whether or not "sign of Jonah" originates with Jesus or not -- its a part of Mark's witness to who Jesus was for him and for his community.

The Christian scriptures are the writings of post-Easter communities of faith. That they understood Jesus in light of the resurrection in no way diminishes their witness.

I do however take your point about Nineveh gettings aved and Jerusalem getting trashed -- though that's just one other comparison/contrast here. I still find how the stories map to one another interesting.

I do think the point of the incredulous disciple's question -- and Jesus' own question -- where is your faith? -- points to this as an exerrcise of authority and not of direct power. The storm is a spiritual being who is able to obeyand does so when rebuked by one with authority.

 
At 9:42 PM, Blogger forrest said...

Certainly it is an exercise of authority.

But it is not, as I understand this, an exercise of one particular person's special authority. Not a matter of "He's the son of God, and you're not."

We do have a special person in this story, but what is special about him is his realization of what he, as a human being, intrincally is: the big "I-That-Am." That "Eye" by which Eckhart saw God, the "Eye" by which God saw Eckhart, the "I" that is left when you have stepped out of your social roles and stopped keeping score on any personal needs, ambitions, shames and fears, become clothed with the world like Adam before he imagined himself naked.

That essence, that "son of Adam," is what addresses the storm. It is what knows God, and "is" God.

"Have you no faith?" Who was a Jew to have faith in, other than God? Jesus is not reproaching the disciples for lack of personal confidence in him, but asking why they did not trust God in this situation.

 
At 6:38 AM, Blogger david said...

You seem far more certain than I feel I can be.

And if Jesus truly was the Messiah -- the God of Abraham Isaac and Jacob wasn't about to let them all die in that storm. That's another sense of faith possible in this situation. But really don't know much about the ideas of destiny, fatalism and determinsim held by Jews of that era. Certainly the default position for Roman pagans would have been one of predestination -- though folks like Aristotle argued against it.

 
At 2:03 PM, Blogger Rich in Brooklyn said...

What has always struck me about this story is that Jesus' ability to sleep during the storm, until awakened by the panicky disciples, was in its own way just as amazing as his ability to calm the storm.
- - Rich Accetta-Evans
Brooklyn Quaker
and
Pondering the Gospels

 

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